Thursday, 3 February 2011

Premier League Review - Match Day 25

The games come thick and fast as the fight to win and stay in the Premier League continues.  With debutant's scoring on their debuts and clubs being dragged into the relegation mire, it can only get more interesting.

I know you are all expecting me to go on about Everton's goal but to be honest it's all been said and I can't really be bothered to go over it all again.  I will merely say watch this and make your own decision on whether Louis Saha was offside or whether it was the second phase or whatever it is called.  Seriously though, is anyone actually 100% clear of the offside rule these days.

David Moyes will be glad to recall Tim Cahill for their next league match as they have clearly missed the Australian though it will please him that Saha is back on the goal trail.  Arsenal on the other hand seem to have finally learnt how to fight their way through a match and grind out those three points.  Arsenal fans were glad to see Andrey Arshavin back on the score sheet with a sweet right-footed goal and Laurent Koscielny jumped above the Everton defence to score his second header in two games. 

STAR MAN: Andrey Arshavin - A delightful piece of skill from the Russian.

When the Premier League trophy is held aloft at the end of the season, Alex Mcleish's men will have had a serious say in who receives it.  With Arsenal being the only top seven side to win at St. Andrews this season.  This is another game that has manager Roberto Mancini fuming about his teams inability to keep the lead although he will take heart from some good attacking play by newboy Edin Dzeko who had the first shot of the game.  Carlos Tevez scored the first goal and another powerful Alexandr Kolarov free-kick gave City the lead after Nikola Zigic had brought the home team level.

But just like their manager, Brum don't give up easily and City had enough warning that a goal was coming.  David Bentley is clearly relishing playing regular football again and he sent in a few crosses which should have got the away defence working harder.  Instead they looked increasingly shaky and it was no shock when Craig Gardner eventually scored.  I'm not sure if it is the defenders or Joe Hart but there seems to be a lack of leadership amongst the back five.  Maybe there are just too many Indians...

STAR MAN: David Villa - Finally seems to be finding his feet in the PL and had set up Tevez' goal.

Rovers boss Steve Kean will be disappointed not to win with the clubs new owner sat in the stands but they never really recovered after Peter Crouch's early goal.  Though that was not for the want of trying as the home team had 17 shots, with 11 of those on target.  They found Heurelho Gomes in inspired form with him saving from Mornt Gamst Pedersen and Mame Diouf in quick succession.

'Arry will be happy to get the win with a growing injury list that now includes transfer window signing Steven Pienaar.  Contrary to newspaper reports Jonathan Woodgate didn't feature but the fact he was on the bench will give him hope that he will make it onto the pitch in the near future.  The Londoners need to start firing on all cylinders with Champions League and FA Cup games just around the corner.

STAR MAN: Heurelho Gomes - Impressive display from the much maligned goalkeeper.

West Ham are finally off the bottom of the table after a brace from Victor Obinna and one from loan signing Robbie Keane.  Avram Grant will be glad he has brought in a player who does exactly what it says on the tin and he has that in Keane.  I imagine he will soon have the whole of Upton Park singing his name as he did the fans in Parkhead after his move to Celtic last January.

Blackpool aren't having a good run of late and even a goal from captain Charlie Adam couldn't get them back into the game.  Ian Holloway will be impressed with Andy Reid who looks capable of sharing the workload with Adam in midfield.  They drop to 13th in the table, but just four points above the relegation zone they need to start picking up points again soon.

KEY MAN: Victor Obinna - Five goals in two games. Need I say more?

Poor Mic Mac, since the implosion of King Kev I don't think I've even seen a manager so close to tears in his post match interview.  In fact I wanted to cry for him.  Holding Bolton at home is not an easy task and to lose a goal at the very end must be heartbreaking for both players and fans. Ronald Zubar must be dreading going into training for the next few days.  Now they take West Ham's place at the bottom of the table and unfortunately I don't see them not being relegated.  Jamie O'Hara is a decent player but he isn't going to get them the goals they need.

Owen Coyle on the other hand must be very happy with his clubs' acquisition of Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea as the under-21 star scored their winning goal.  The teenager could give the club the extra goals they need to renew their race to reach Europe.

STAR MAN: I couldn't pick between either goalkeeper who had kept their respective team in it until the dying minutes.

It was a former Magpies player who scored the winning goal for Fulham as it finally looks as if Mark Hughes is getting his best team back for the first time this season.  With the return of Bobby Zamora on the horizon one might expect the Welsh manager to have a wry smile on his face; while thinking about those who thought the West London team may get relegated. Damien Duff scored his first goal in a year to give his team the points, midway through the second half.

It was a scrappy game and Newcastle's chances weren't helped when Shola Ameobi went off with a suspected fractured cheekbone after an accidental clash with Steve Sidwell.  Leon Best and Nile Ranger were toothless up front and you have to wonder whether Alan Pardew would rather have £35 million or an unfit Andy Carroll in his back pocket.

STAR MAN: Damian Duff - Showed some flair amongst all the boots.

The King Kenny revival continues as the home side now sit a more respectable 7th in the league and after the purchase of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez the native are not so restless.  There will be more sighs of relief if they continue to rise on up the table.  It wasn't pretty football but that won't matter to the Anfield faithful especially with Suarez netting their second on his first appearance in front of the Kop.

Stoke have been fairly erratic of late, taking only six points of their last 18.  Something that won't please manager Tony Pulis.  But their early season form should keep them from worrying about the bottom three and life after it.  John Carew did have a shot from a Jermaine Pennant cross, which flew in front of Jose Reina's goal.  It was Pulis' 100th league game as Stoke manager and I'm sure he will expect better in his 101st.

STAR MAN: Dirk Kuyt - Worked hard for his team, particularly in the air.

Manchester United continued their unbeaten league run on the day Gary Neville announced his retirement from the sport with immediate effect.  See my farewell to the Red Devil legend here.  Along with Wayne Rooney breaking his scoring drought it was a pretty god day all round for SirAlex.  Nemanja Vidic scored the third which any striker would've been proud of, who knew he had a sweet right foot.

Darren Bent scored his second goal in two games for his new club, which will be the only highlight of this game for Gerard Houllier.  His team seem to be shipping quite a few goals recently and they need to find a way to halt that, as Bent's goals alone won't be enough to take them up the table.  Sitting in 14th, they are still not safe and they need to pick up more than eight points in their next six games.

STAR MAN: Wayne Rooney - finding his shooting boots at just the right time for club and country.

A thrilling match for both sets of fans and possibly heart attack inducing for both managers.  The opening  half was end to end stuff and either team could've have won.  The Black Cats showed they continue to thrive without Darren Bent which another goal from Kieran Richardson and one from Phil Bardsley.  Richardson seems to be enjoying his more advanced role while Stephane Sessegnon reminded me not to judge players until they make their first start in the Premier League.

Chelsea's players seemed keen to show Fernando Torres they won't be handing over their starting slots so clearly with Nicholas Anelka and Solamon Kalou both scoring goals.  Although they scored four, Carlo Ancelotti won't be happy in the manner they conceded their goals.  Although captain John Terry made amends as he added his name to the score sheet on 60 minutes.  The performance of Frank Lampard will have pleased Ancelotti most though, they have visibly missed their talisman this season.  His return to form as well as new striker Torres' arrival may have a Scot and a Frenchman looking curiously over their shoulder.

STAR MAN: Frank Lampard - Welcome back!

Two teams who needed a draw as much as Richard Keys needed to do that interview.  Neither Roberto will be happy but even they will admit one point is better than none.  And it was hard to predict who the winner was going to be at The Hawthornes.  Wigan will feel the more disappointed of the two as West Ham's win saw them drop a spot to 19th; while West Brom are not far ahead in 16th with only three points between them.

You can imagine the energetic style of the game with a total of nine cards being shown though there were no sending offs.  Both teams had and took their chances, though that may have been down to inept defensive play than amazing attacking ability.  Both teams need to become more accomplished when attempting to protect a lead, as they will face sterner challengers than each other.

STAR MAN: Jerome Thomas - Two assists. His manager must be screaming for more performances like this.


  1. delighted that i've just stumbled upon your blog. keep at it, you'll make a fine journo and a great gooner.

    best of luck


  2. Hi John,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the blog.